Catherine's Reviews > Scandal

Scandal by Carolyn Jewel
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Jul 09, 11

bookshelves: romance, buddy-read, england, historical, it-moved-me, read-2011, rake-bad-boy
Recommended to Catherine by: Tammy Walton Grant
Read on July 04, 2011 — I own a copy

If there’s one thing I can say about Carolyn Jewel, it’s that she can write the hell out of an emotional scene. While reading, I rarely found individual lines that jumped out at me as quotable. I was surprised by this, since I had heard so many people say how awesome this book was, but I soon realized that it’s not the lines themselves that make Jewel’s work so memorable, it’s the way she layers those lines together and builds the emotion in a scene. By the time she was done, her writing had grabbed me by the throat and sucked me in.

Jewel has written a truly excellent hero in Banallt. We spend the majority of our time in his POV, and he was what made the book for me. He was so gone for the heroine that I can’t help but sigh just thinking about it. Whether viewing him in the present or in the past, Banallt was written perfectly. His longing for the heroine never felt overdone, and I think the author did a great job of showing a believable transformation from debauchery to monogamy.
"Before Sophie, his interaction with women had been, in essence, about him. His choices. His reactions. His anticipation. Back then, he didn't gaze endlessly at a woman who struck his fancy, because if he did, his seduction of her would have been thwarted by gossip or someone's interference. With Sophie, the compulsion to stare came from someplace deep inside him, and he could no more stop himself from looking at her than he could stop breathing."

Sophie, unfortunately, was not as enjoyable for me. I liked her, but something was off about her characterization. I just didn’t understand her. And that, for me, is vitally important. I thought I did in the beginning, but the further I got into the novel, the more I realized I didn’t. For one thing, I never felt that her professed love for her husband was believable. I needed more of an explanation there for me to believe that a girl who was bankrupted and cheated on by her man-whore of a husband would continue to adore him through it all.

I could believe that Sophie was the type to silently endure her husband’s behavior without making any scenes, but to continue to love him? It just didn’t work for me. At one point Sophie discusses her past and talks about falling in love with her husband all over again, so I know that some people will take that to mean that she didn’t love him the whole time. Yet Sophie and Banallt both say again and again that she did. Banallt even remarks that he used to be jealous of the way she looked at her husband. I have to assume the author was pointing out the difference between Sophie being in love with her husband and just plain loving him. I really wish this had been clearer, though.

I also found myself frustrated by Sophie’s continual disbelief that Banallt had changed. On one hand I thought her back and forth attitude felt authentic to a woman with her past, but on the other I was eventually fed up. Are you blind, woman?!?! The fault didn’t just lie with Sophie, though. Why didn’t Banallt ever lay it on the line for her? There were no Big Misunderstandings here, but I really felt the communication could have been better.

There came a point in the book where my mouth dropped open and I just gaped at the page. I couldn’t believe that the author had pulled something so utterly surprising. Usually I see these things coming, but here I didn’t. I have to give the author kudos for doing it. It pulled at my heartstrings viciously, but it went perfectly with the book.

I really loved the way the author threaded flashbacks through the book. Witnessing Banallt and Sophie build a friendship and an attraction together was so much better than just hearing about it. I loved how the journey to the scene that explained the severing of their friendship wasn’t rushed. My anticipation was high by the time it was finally revealed. I have to admit that I felt a little underwhelmed by the “betrayal”, but the excellent execution of the buildup and the eventual reveal made me less upset by this than I usually would be.

Because most of the book was so fabulous, it really made those off moments more pronounced than they would have been otherwise. Like the way the author described the hero’s eyes throughout the book.
"His eyes, flat, nearly dead, fixed on her, but something in her reacted to that lifeless silver."
Blech! That was a very poor choice of words. There is a large difference between having guarded or empty eyes and having “lifeless” eyes. We’re not dealing with zombies here, people. Reading about someone’s lifeless eyes in a sex scene that’s supposed to be filled with passion totally kills the mood for me.

I also found the author’s inclusion of past-Banallt telling Sophie that he “loved” his wife, even though he cheated on her constantly, really aggravating, considering she didn’t bother to give any further explanations or depth to that past relationship. We never find out why he cheated on his wife if he loved her. And we never got any internal musings in his present self that would have shown some inner awareness that what he felt before wasn’t actually love. Instead, the author left it open and left me feeling unsettled about their future. If he loved one woman and cheated on her, what’s to say he won’t do it again to Sophie? I, of course, don’t believe that what he felt before was actually love, but having the author skim over these little details that I find so incredibly important ultimately made me lower my grade.

Favorite Quote:
"Sometimes I think about it, that giddy feeling in your stomach, feeling as if you'll die if he doesn't smile at you. The part of me that loved Tommy like that leaves me sick." Her voice fell. "I'm nothing but ashes inside. My heart's burnt up. I've nothing to give a marriage, Banallt."

*For a sneak peak of the book check out my Tempting Teaser on Fiction Vixen*
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Reading Progress

07/04/2011 page 22
7.0% ""Lord Banallt lifted his head and looked at her, surprise etched on his face. And yet she saw nothing in his eyes. Nothing at all. She shuddered to think of the kind of life that gave a man such empty eyes."" 10 comments
07/04/2011 page 61
20.0% "I'm totally captivated. I love that we're spending so much time in Banallt's head. He is a complex man and seeing him then and now is fascinating. I'm intensely curious about the betrayal of Sophie he spoke of, but I think I have a good guess." 2 comments
07/04/2011 page 84
27.0% ""I would not marry a man I did not love. And therefore, if I were married to you, it would be because I was in love. And to a woman in love, faithfulness is the air she breathes, not a meal she chooses. One day this, another that. Changing menus all the time because one grows bored."" 6 comments
07/04/2011 page 89
29.0% ""Lovely, sad little Sophie Mercer Evans," he said in the voice of Satan himself. "When I take you to bed, I assure you, it won't be because I coerced you. It will be because you want to be there.""
07/04/2011 page 116
38.0% ""Sometimes I think about it, that giddy feeling in your stomach, feeling as if you'll die if he doesn't smile at you. The part of me that loved Tommy like that leaves me sick." Her voice fell. "I'm nothing but ashes inside. My heart's burnt up. I've nothing to give a marriage, Banallt."" 9 comments
07/04/2011 page 129
42.0% "He asked her to dance and then the we skip to a new scene? Argh! Sometimes the way the scenes end drive me nuts. The author ends them way before I want them to. :\" 2 comments
07/04/2011 page 140
45.0% "I spoke too soon. It was just a quick flashback and now we're back to the dance. :)"
07/04/2011 page 155
50.0% ""Before Sophie, his interaction with women had been, in essence, about him. His choices. His reactions. His anticipation. Back then, he didn't gaze endlessly at a woman who struck his fancy, because if he did, his seduction of her would have been thwarted by gossip or someone's interference. With Sophie, the compulsion to stare came from someplace deep inside him, and he could no more stop himself (cont in comments)" 3 comments
07/04/2011 page 199
64.0% "Woah. I did not expect that." 5 comments
07/04/2011 page 309
100.0% "Thanks for the rec Tammy!" 11 comments

Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Quinn Hey there! I left a message on your profile - I finally got this one. Are you interested in starting it anytime soon?


Catherine I must have missed that email notification. Sure, we can start it tomorrow. We don't have to do anything formal if you don't want to (as in starting and stopping at the exact same time), we can just update often and comment on each other's updates. Sound good?


Tammy Walton Grant Oh! Oh! Oh! You're finally going to read it?!?!?! Yay! Hope you both enjoy it. :D


Catherine Tammy wrote: "Oh! Oh! Oh! You're finally going to read it?!?!?! Yay! Hope you both enjoy it. :D"

Me too!


Quinn Catherine wrote: "I must have missed that email notification. Sure, we can start it tomorrow. We don't have to do anything formal if you don't want to (as in starting and stopping at the exact same time), we can j..."

Sounds good, Catherine. I think you'll get through it much quicker than me, so starting and stopping at the same wouldn't work so well for you! Then there's that pesky time difference.

Looking forward to chatting!


Quinn Tammy wrote: "Oh! Oh! Oh! You're finally going to read it?!?!?! Yay! Hope you both enjoy it. :D"

Thanks, Tammy. You'll be in trouble if we don't! ;)


Tammy Walton Grant *chews nails and waits anxiously* :D


Catherine Quinn wrote: "Catherine wrote: "I must have missed that email notification. Sure, we can start it tomorrow. We don't have to do anything formal if you don't want to (as in starting and stopping at the exact sa..."

Me too!


Juliana Look forward to reading your review! Have heard some really great things about this book; I have it out from the library and in my nightstand pile right now.


Catherine Juliana wrote: "Look forward to reading your review! Have heard some really great things about this book; I have it out from the library and in my nightstand pile right now."

You should read it soon so I can comment on all your updates while it's fresh. ^_^


Juliana Catherine wrote: "You should read it soon so I can comment on all your updates while it's fresh. ^_^ "

Will be a horrible cheater and have a look at the three challenges I'm in right now to see if I can swap it in for one of the other ones and therefore move it to the top of the pile. ;-)


Juliana Does the book take place in the summer by any chance?


Juliana Oh, never mind! I was genius enough (so modest) to already fit it into one of my challenges. So your machinations did not control it moving to the top of the pile; did that on my own! Mwahahaha!


Catherine Juliana wrote: "Oh, never mind! I was genius enough (so modest) to already fit it into one of my challenges. So your machinations did not control it moving to the top of the pile; did that on my own! Mwahahaha!"

You win this round, young grasshopper. :P


message 15: by Juliana (last edited Jul 05, 2011 06:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Juliana Catherine wrote: "You win this round, young grasshopper. :P"

At last!
Lol ;-)


Wicked Incognito Now That's pretty much how I felt about it, except, Sophie irritated me SO MUCH that I couldn't enjoy the rest of the book.

Eventually, she just seemed like she was meanly refusing to see Banallt for what he was. It got old.


Catherine April wrote: "That's pretty much how I felt about it, except, Sophie irritated me SO MUCH that I couldn't enjoy the rest of the book.

Eventually, she just seemed like she was meanly refusing to see Banallt for ..."


I can totally understand why she bothered you so much that the rest of the book was spoiled for you. I really wish that she had been as good of a character as the hero was.


message 18: by Quinn (last edited Jul 10, 2011 05:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Quinn What a great, comprehensive review, Catherine! Of course, I agree with everything you said - especially: "Witnessing Banallt and Sophie build a friendship and an attraction together was so much better than just hearing about it", and most definitely your thoughts on Banallt. *sigh*


Catherine Quinn wrote: "What a great, comprehensive review, Catherine! Of course, I agree with everything you said - especially: "Witnessing Banallt and Sophie build a friendship and an attraction together was so much bet..."

Thanks, Quinn. It was really fun doing this buddy read with you. I liked being able to chat back and forth on our status updates while we read.


Quinn I agree! The timing worked out really well because I was at home with the kids and was able to get on here more. Sucks being back at work!


Catherine Quinn wrote: "I agree! The timing worked out really well because I was at home with the kids and was able to get on here more. Sucks being back at work!"

I feel your pain. Being stuck at work is not fun.


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